(KGTV) – The Navy’s first Mobile Landing Platform, the USNS Montford Point, was put through its paces for the first time last week as part of exercise Pacific Horizon.
During the exercise, LCAC hovercraft shuttled trucks and supplies from the massive ship to shore. The scenario was that two massive hurricanes had devastated the tiny, fictional nation of Arcadia.
“Arcadia. It is not offensive. I don’t think there’s a country out there called Arcadia,” said Rear Adm. Frank Ponds.
It was a test – if you will – of how well the Navy and Marines can react together to a natural disaster.
“It is about rendering assistance to save lives, to protect property, and prevent human suffering,” said Ponds.
“We have to have someone come in and tell you you are doing it right, this is what you are doing wrong, and oh by the way, this is how you can do it better.”
“This concept of sea basing, coming from the sea, takes great skill, said Marine Corps. Brigadier Gen. Joaquin Malavet.
The Montford Point is basically a highway interchange and a parking lot at sea. Trucks drive off a transport ship, onto the Montford Point, and then onto hovercraft. The hovercraft back out of parking spaces on the ship and head to shore.
The Montford Point can actually lower itself into the ocean so the LCACs can more easily move on and off the ship.
The Montford Point is still in trials. If it passes, the Navy could purchase two more. Rear Admiral Ponds likes it so far.
“We have tools out there that make my job effective. It’s never easy.”